Agenda item

The Mayor's Statement


The Mayor referred to the following in his statement:


Long Term Plans and Strategies


The Mayor advised that the Council was currently working on the Local Plan, an Anti-Poverty Strategy, a Cumulative Impact Policy, the Strategic Revision, and an Article 4 Direction.


The Mayor advised that in terms of the Local Plan, the statistics in relation to the town’s age of the population were concerning. By 2040, it looked as if there would be a large increase in the older population and a decrease in the younger work age population.


It was planned to build affordable suitable accommodation within the town centre to encourage young people to stay and work in the town. 


Community Safety


The Mayor advised that wardens were now returning to the estates and the plan was to build up the number of wardens back to 24. In addition to the wardens, there would be a Neighbourhood Safety Officer and the Flying Squad. It was important to increase the number of wardens to enable them to work across all the estates.


Proceeds of Crime


The Mayor stated that it was important that when the Council prosecuted people for offences such as selling illegal tobacco, that the Council gained as much benefit as it could from the proceeds of crime other than the Council’s legal costs. This would ensure that criminals committing crime in Middlesbrough could not benefit from the proceeds. He advised that work to achieve this aim, was ongoing.


Ward visits


The Mayor advised that he was working on visiting each ward in the town. He invited councillors to join him when he was visiting their ward to raise any issues pertinent to their individual wards. Off-road bikes appeared to be an issue in most wards. The Mayor also stated that as part of the visits, it was important to ascertain why health inequalities existed in certain areas of the town.


Members commented on the Mayor’s statement.


In response to a query from Councillor Smiles with regard to whether the Mayoral Development Corporation could be discussed, the Chair clarified that any questions should relate to the Mayor’s statement.


In response to queries regarding Street Wardens, the Mayor advised that the Council currently employed eight Street Wardens, four per shift and the aim was to build that number back up to 24. The reduction in the number of Street Wardens had impacted on the town.


The Mayor advised that the Council had received an initial grant towards funding the Street Wardens and they had also applied for “‘Hot Spot Policing and Community Safety’ initiative” funding from the Police and Crime Commissioners office for one year with the possibility of extending it for a further year subject to Home Office funding.

The Mayor advised that in the previous budget, any income generated by the warden’s service such as the income generated from parking fines, had not been allocated back to the service. Over £100k had been generated by the service in one year, but this had not been recognised through the budget process. The Mayor advised that if the income generation had been included, it may have impacted on the previous decision to reduce the number of wardens.


Councillor Thompson advised in terms of funding, that the Council had been able to maximise funding for the Community Safety Team, which included the Street Wardens and the Fly Tipping squad, for another twelve months. The funding was realised from various sources which included the Indigenous Growth Fund from the TVCA, a Home Office Grant and the existing core budget. The initial funding had been allocated from the Indigenous Growth Fund and had been given after the May election.


In terms of claiming income from the Proceeds of Crime, the Mayor advised that the organisation that assumed lead for an investigation would usually be responsible for claiming and allocating any proceeds of crime. 


Councillor Mason commented on the appointment of Chairs and Vice Chairs of committees. The Chair clarified that any questions should relate to the Mayor’s statement. Councillor Mason was advised that he could raise the issue through the questions on notice process.


Councillor Hurst advised that he would like to meet with the Mayor to discuss reports on health inequalities. The Mayor advised that he would like to look at the wards that were most affected by health inequalities.


In response to a query from Councillor M Storey with regard to how often the Local Plan Working Group would meet and who would be involved, the Mayor advised that it would be a small working group that would likely include a representative from any group working on a Neighbourhood Plan, local business’s, developers and the Thirteen group. It was hoped that the Local Plan would be finalised by the end of the following year.


Councillor Furness advised that timescales in terms of the completion of the Local Plan were included in his report.


Councillor Coupe queried whether the Mayor could ensure that the membership of the Local Plan Working Group was cross-party. The Mayor advised that he would look at the structure of the group. It was important that businesses, developers and Thirteen were consulted.


ORDERED that the statement of the Mayor be noted.